Increasing rumours are circulating which state that the veteran Vistafjord, the last cruise ship ever to be built in the United Kingdom, has been sold for scrap.
Built by Swan Hunter on the Tyne in 1973 for Norwegian America Line, the 24,000 ton Vistafjord was for many years the absolute epitome of suave, upmarket cruising luxury.
In 1999, the fabled ship was renamed Caronia. Under Cunard ownership effectively since 1983, she continued to sail on after her transfer to Saga Cruises and restyling as the Saga Ruby. With her beautiful sense of elegant maritime styling intact, she continued to remain a very popular ship indeed.
None the less, Saga felt inclined to dispose of her. She was sold to go out to Yangon (Rangoon) as a hotel ship, running under the name of Oasia. It appears she never got there.
After a while lingering in Southern Thailand, the condition of the ship has now reportedly deteriorated to such an extent that she can no longer be considered either seaworthy or salvageable, hence the inevitable sale to the scrappers as noted above.
At the time of writing, the veteran ship has yet to leave her lay up berth for a rumoured final berth at an Indian scrapyard.
Her demise marks the lowering of a curtain on the last flowering of British commercial passenger ship construction, as well as the end of a fine, much loved, highly regarded ship. In the context of the present times it must also be considered as inevitable, however sad that truly is. Stay tuned for further updates.